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12/27/2005
California: Free Lance Ticket Writers Earn $350,000 for City
Ordinary citizens issue parking tickets to friends and enemies, generating hundreds of thousands in revenue for Fremont, California.

Handicapped Area Parking Patrol
Volunteers are writing parking tickets for the San Francisco Bay area city of Fremont, California, generating between $175,000 and $350,000 in annual revenue. Since July 1996, the mercenary force of ordinary citizens who have taken a brief training course has grown from ten to thirty. Each drives a police-issued vehicle and doles out $275 parking tickets to anyone they claim has violated disabled parking space rules. One of Fremont's volunteers, Joan Hemry, told the San Mateo County Times that she enjoys writing tickets.

California law allows "Disabled Parking Enforcement Unit" personnel to wear a badge and a uniform while issuing citations. The law also allows the volunteers to be paid an hourly wage, receive free dry cleaning and become eligible for worker's compensation benefits.

Article Excerpt:
California Vehicle Code

Local Authority: Enforcement of Disabled Persons Parking

22507.9. Local authorities may establish a special enforcement unit for the sole purpose of providing adequate enforcement of Section 22507.8 and local ordinances and resolutions adopted pursuant to Section 22511.7.

Local authorities may establish recruitment and employment guidelines that encourage and enable employment of qualified disabled persons in these special enforcement units.

Members of the special enforcement unit may issue notices of parking violation for violations of Section 22507.8 and local ordinances adopted pursuant to Section 22511.7. Members of the special enforcement unit shall not be peace officers and shall not make arrests in the course of their official duties, but shall wear distinctive uniforms and badges while on duty. A two-way radio unit, which may utilize police frequencies or citizens' band, may be issued by the local authority to each member of the special enforcement unit for use while on duty.

The local authority may pay the cost of uniforms and badges for the special enforcement unit, and may provide daily cleaning of the uniforms. Additionally, the local authority may provide motorized wheelchairs for use by members of the special unit while on duty, including batteries and necessary recharging thereof. Any motorized wheelchair used by a member of the special enforcement unit while on duty shall be equipped with a single headlamp in the front and a single stoplamp in the rear.

Members of the special enforcement unit may be paid an hourly wage without the compensatory benefits provided other permanent and temporary employees, but shall be entitled to applicable workers' compensation benefits as provided by law. Insurance provided by the local authority for disability or liability of a member of the special enforcement unit shall be the same as for other employees performing similar duties.

Nothing in this section precludes a local authority from using regular full-time employees to enforce this chapter and ordinances adopted pursuant thereto.

This section applies to all counties and cities, including every charter city and city and county.
Amended Sec. 127, Ch. 124, Stats. 1996. Effective January 1, 1997.
Source: Squad supports civil rights with parking tickets (San Mateo County Times, 12/26/2005)

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